the RN demonstrates alongside the bakers to “carry their voice” and “their demands”

Absent from the days of mobilization against the pension reform, Lepenist deputies took part in a rally on Monday to denounce the explosion in electricity prices.

Go pounding the pavement yourself, or settle for oral support. This is the question posed to the National Rally, lately, when it comes to mobilization. Fierce opponent of the pension reform project of the executive, the RN refuses for example to associate itself for the moment with the recent demonstrations organized by the inter-union or by the Nupes. “It’s not part of our DNA”, repeat the representatives of the party to the flame, to justify their refusal to take to the streets. This Monday, however, a delegation of a dozen Lepenist deputies, led by Sébastien Chenu, was present in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, to support the bakers and craftsmen who marched against rising energy prices.

“The question of pensions will be debated in the National Assembly, but this will not be the case for energy, while we have been asking for weeks for a debate on the exit from the European electricity market”, advances the RN deputy of Pas-de-Calais, Caroline Parmentier. Without however ignoring that the RN was not persona non grata in the rally of the day, unlike the last two mobilizations against the pension reform, where the unions had made it known that the nationalist formation was not welcome in the processions. “Knowing this, we have no interest in going to an event from which they will try to chase us away”concedes an elected official.

SEE ALSO – Energy: bakers demonstrate in Paris

The feeling of not being heard

This Monday, on the other hand, there was no visible hostility among the participants, when some 500 people gathered near the Place de la Nation. Among them: bakers, but also hairdressers, laundry owners, and craftsmen. All of them report their difficulties in paying their bills, and an increase in the price of energy doubled, even tenfold in some areas. On site, there are also former “yellow vests”, convinced that the fight is not over. Or lifelong activists, present, already, last Thursday, during the demonstration against the pension reform. A heterogeneous public where French flags, “antivax” slogans, hostility towards journalists mingle. A mass of diffuse and diverse anger, with one constant for all participants: the feeling of not being heard. And the possibility, identified by the RN, of transforming this popular resentment into electoral potential. “Their claims are not brought to the Assembly, assures Thomas Ménagé, RN deputy for Loiret. The idea, by participating in this event, is to support them and carry their voice.

In the procession, most of the demonstrators already seem receptive to the ideas of the party to the flame, in particular on purchasing power. “Where is Marine Le Pen?” we ask everyone in the ranks. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Debout la France deputy, former supporter of Marine Le Pen in the second round of the 2017 presidential election, is also well received. The ex-candidate Jean Lassalle, finally, is entitled to a standing ovation when he appears. The mobilized craftsmen express their fed up, and a feeling of “all rotten” who earns them a little more every day. “No one has listened to us for years, so we can hope that the deputies of the RN will serve as a relay, because it is the elected officials who are closest to us”testifies Philippe, a baker in Île-de-France.

An electoral pool for the RN

The deputies are aware of the potential electoral pool constituted by this category of population. “This is typically the type of electorate we can win“, assures one of them. Since the return to parliament, the nationalist party has been very attentive to the demands of these professional branches. At the beginning of January, already, Jordan Bardella, president of the party, had sent a letter to the bakers of France. While in November, an RN delegation came to support the butchers, who were demonstrating in front of the National Assembly in the face of soaring energy prices.


Written by Emilie Grenaud

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